Autumn is my favorite time of the year and autumn flavors are among my favorite. Butternut squash is in at the farm stand and this is the best time of year to purchase it and cook it up for the winter. When choosing butternut squash look for squashes that are stocky rather than shapely. The majority of the flesh is in the neck of the squash and the round base is mostly seeds…the bigger the bottom-the more seeds. I stock up on squashes, roast them up, mash the flesh and freeze it for the rest of the winter. Roasting concentrates the flavor rather than diluting it like boiling does. The following recipe for Roasted Butternut Squash may seem like a lot of work but I like to roast once and enjoy squash for the rest of the winter. Make sure you use a heavy sharp knife to split the squashes. There is nothing wrong with roasting smaller amounts as needed.
Originally, the next recipe: Chicken and Butternut Squash Stew called for 1 cup of chopped onions and 1 cup of carrots. I can’t use the carrots but left them in for anyone who can…it’s an easy way to get some veggies in. As for the onions I have been substituting onion powder for onions in recipes. I was told by the Dietitian that onions are skins and should be avoided. From what I understand some people with GP eat onions and even berries but I have no intention of including either in my diet at the moment. When I mentioned that I wanted to “step outside the box” I didn’t mean be reckless with my new found abilities with solids (knock wood!). Without the carrots and onions it’s more like a thick, comforting soup. Feel free to bump the chicken up to one pound if desired. That will bump up the protein in each serving. I consider winter squash a starch. Add a serving of white rice or even a scoop of mashed potatoes with the stew if desired.
Roasted Butternut Squash
Adapted from Martha Stewart Living
Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Cut butternut squash in half length wise and scrape out the seeds with a sharp spoon. Cook as many squash as you have room/pans for. Place each half cut side down in a rimmed sheet pan or baking pan with 1/4 inch of water. Roast for approximately 35-45 minutes until a skewer can be inserted in the neck of the squash without resistance. Let cool and when cool enough to handle scoop out the flesh and mash in a big bowl (puree in a food processor if necessary). Freeze in individual containers. Squash can be seasoned as savory with onion powder, garlic, thyme and even parmesan cheese or sweet with brown sugar, maple syrup or even a spoonful of orange juice concentrate from the freezer.
Chicken and Butternut Squash Stew
Adapted from a Weight Watchers recipe from the 1990s. Makes 4 Servings
2 teaspoons olive oil
1 clove garlic crushed
3 cups peeled and cut into 1 inch cubes butternut squash
1 cup diced carrots (if using-smaller pieces cook faster)
2 cups low sodium chicken broth
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme (ground to a powder if necessary)
1 bay leaf
1/4 teaspoon salt
10 ounces boneless, skinless chicken breast, cubed (bump up to 1lb if desired)
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
grated nutmeg, salt and pepper, to taste
1 tablespoon orange juice concentrate
Preheat a medium dutch oven. Add olive oil, garlic, squash cubes and carrots (if using). Stir and cook 3 minutes. Stir in broth, thyme, salt and bay leaf. Bring to a boil and simmer, covered, 15 minutes. Vegetables should be nice and tender. Meanwhile season chicken cubes with onion powder.
Remove 1 cup solids with a slotted spoon and puree with 1/2 cup liquid. Return to the pan and bring to a boil. Add chicken cubes and return to a simmer until cooked through (approximately 4-5 minutes). Add orange juice concentrate and season with nutmeg, salt and pepper.
Per 1 cup serving (as written with onions and carrots): 186 calories, 5 grams total fat, 1 gram saturated fat, 41 mg cholesterol, 254 grams sodium, 20 grams total carbohydrate, 5 grams dietary fiber, 20 grams protein, 91 mg calcium